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Rugby players know our responsibility in keeping virus away to ensure action returns: O'Mahony

 

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Green fingers: Peter O’Mahony launches #DoBitsHelpLots campaign with GreenAware where he offers an insight into his everyday tips and tricks to becoming more eco-friendly Photo: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Green fingers: Peter O’Mahony launches #DoBitsHelpLots campaign with GreenAware where he offers an insight into his everyday tips and tricks to becoming more eco-friendly Photo: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

�INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Green fingers: Peter O’Mahony launches #DoBitsHelpLots campaign with GreenAware where he offers an insight into his everyday tips and tricks to becoming more eco-friendly Photo: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

As of Monday, all four provinces have been back in training. Every player who returned did so of his own accord and in full understanding of the risks involved.

The island may be slowly reopening, but Covid-19 hasn't suddenly disappeared.

Some players won't have had any concerns about being back amongst their team-mates. Others had some reservations due to their own personal situation.

A considerable amount of professionals here still live at home with their parents, which has caused some anxiety, while others have young children.

Peter O'Mahony falls into the second category, and although the Munster and Ireland back-row has been relieved to get back to some sort of normality, he is very wary of putting his two young kids at risk.

"There are some doubts," O'Mahony admitted. "It's new for everyone. You run through different things in your head. I am very confident in the government, for one, the way they have looked after the situation.

"We are working from their guidelines. I am confident in that. I am confident in the IRFU, the way they have handled our situation with regard to implementing the restrictions around what we can and can't do.

"I am very confident in Munster after how they kitted out and laid out the high performance centre. I am very confident in all those organisations to look after me and the players and the public in general as best as they can.

"As much as you are hugely hungry to get back playing the sport, you needed to have the confidence in those people to do it. They have shown some great governance over the last three or four months to get us back.

"As a general rule, guys are delighted to be back."

The positive mood around the high performance centres in Limerick, Dublin, Galway and Belfast comes with a major warning that if one player or backroom staff member tests positive, Irish rugby could be quickly halted again.

"At the moment, we still need to be as strict with our movements as possible to keep us back in training," O'Mahony continued. "Even with some of the restrictions having been lifted, we still have to be very mindful of where we are going, who we are going anywhere with.

"We are trying to restrict ourselves to as little movement as possible. Guys have to get on with life in some ways but we understand that as soon as one of us picks this (virus) up, you are potentially putting the whole IRFU playing group in jeopardy.

"We have to take those things into consideration and know that there is a huge amount of responsibility on our shoulders."

As it is, the noises coming out of the provinces have been encouraging as everyone adheres to the strict protocols in place.

Irish rugby is working towards an August 22 restart date, with Munster to take on Leinster at the Aviva, with Connacht and Ulster the following day. The fixtures are to be confirmed within the next fortnight.

Munster's hand will be considerably strengthened for that trip to Dublin, as they will be able to call on the likes of RG Snyman and Damian de Allende, who hopes to shake off a knock.

The first images of Snyman in Munster's colours emerged late last week with the giant lock casually carrying a watt bike in one hand as if it was a loaf of bread.

Munster supporters are hugely excited to see what the World Cup-winning duo can bring, and if O'Mahony's first impressions of Snyman are anything to go by, they are in for a treat.

"He is an incredible specimen altogether, I have never seen anything like it," the Munster captain enthused. "He looks like he can shift as well, doing speed work. He is a serious athlete.

"You go through the provinces who have won the European Cup and the PRO14, and they have had world-class signings.

"They are the kind of calibre of player that you sign to win trophies with. They're very important to us, and you'd hope the guys we've signed will be with us for a long time."

Belfast Telegraph